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MEMBER/OFFICER RELATIONS - NEW STRUCTURES REQUIRE NEW WAYS OF WORKING

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The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and other leading professional societies have launched guidelines f...
The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and other leading professional societies have launched guidelines for modern member/manager relations.

Members and managers under modernisation, a joint statement by SOLACE, the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors, the Society of Chief Personnel Officers and CIPFA, says the new system of local government 'recasts' the essential relationship between members and officers. It will only work if that relationship is clear and complementary, it warns.

The document describes the different strengths and skills required of politicians and officers: 'Members are elected from, and represent, their constituents. Managers are trained to manage people and organisations to deliver services.

'Members will need skills to extract and express public concerns. Managers need political sensitivity and skills to support members' strengths and expertise.'

The Local Government Bill creates a unique opportunity for councillors and officers to work together.

SOLACE president David Henshaw said: 'This is not an attack on politicians, the reverse. It is an assertion that managerial leadership has a role to play in the re-emerging of local government and denying its role does all of us a disservice.'

SOLACE honorary secretary Clive Grace said: 'The point is that community and political leadership, and strong and effective managerial leadership, are not an either/or matter.'

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